Below are the stories of some of the children and youth living at the CYEC. They wrote their stories to share on this website.
“My name is Margaret. I am the first born of six. My father died in 2010. We were left under the care of my mother, who has health problems. My mother can’t do any manual work for a long time and with this I had to drop out of school to help her. That time I was in class six. I was very poor in my studies. I was trying my best to go to school for some days. Yet even if I go no one was pay for my fees. That when I completely dropped out in class six. In November 2010, a young woman told my mother that she can employee me as a house wife in her family so that I can help my siblings in their daily bread. I was not willing to go and so I ran away to Murang’a and I stayed in my grandmother’s house. Soon after, my mother ran away from home leaving my siblings under the care of no one. Again, I came back to Othaya to help them. My brother and I had to toil for us to get food. In that process of a lot of work I felt sick and a woman friend too me to hospital where I was admitted. It was in three weeks time. As soon as I was discharged when I arrived home my mother cam. I was not ready to forgive her and so I once again ran away. This was now 2011. My aunt who lives in Nyeri came and took me home. My mum and I had a good dialogue and I finally forgive her. My aunt then proposed to me if I wanted to continue with my studies. I said yes, not knowing where I was going. I packed my clothes and we left home. On February 2011, that is when I joined the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre. That 2011 when I came I reported class five. And that where I started working hard til now am through with my class eight ready to join high school. In CYEC I love this place because if it were not for it my life would be desperately damaged.”
“I was born on year 2000. I grew at our home with my mother, father and my brothers. In year 2001, my mother passed on and I was left with my father and elder brothers. I was admitted in nursery on year 2002 and was forwarded to class one on year 2007 and when I entered standard three on 2009 I was taken by my father and he take a walk up to here Children and Youth Empowerment Centre on year 2009. The Centre took us my brother and I to Thunguma Primary and for now I has finished my race in standard eight on year 2014 and now am waiting to be taken to secondary school these year 2015. But now my brother is in standard eight this year. And I always thank the Centre for their help.”
Steve’s story has been adapted from a personal essay he wrote: Education is a ladder that can lift a child out of poverty. For Steve, however, enrollment in primary school moved his family in the opposite direction. The financial strain of paying for school—which includes tuition, uniform costs, and activity fees— proved too great for Steve’s single mother, and soon, hunger became an everyday reality for Steve and his family. Steve was dismissed from his primary school in order to retrieve the overdue balance of his school fees, only to be confronted by his mother, who asked, “Am I to feed my children, or pay for school fees?” It’s an impossible dilemma for a mother to find herself in, and especially difficult for a child with a desire for a better life. Steve’s mother chose to feed her family. Steve left home, vowing never to return to school again. He spent the next two years of his young life as a street child in Nanyuki and Nyeri, fending for himself. It was in these very streets that a good Samaritan approached Steve to tell him that he could find a safe home at the Children and Youth Empowerment Center. Steve was able to return to school and excelled. He scored exceptionally high on the KPEC (Kenya Primary Education Certificate) and received the highly selective “Wings to Fly” scholarship from the Equity Foundation to attend high school.
Elimlim’s story has been adapted from a personal essay he wrote: Elimlim was born on March 29. His mother faced the difficult task of supporting three children. To earn a living, she started the grueling labor of working in different coffee plantations. Life went on this way: they had next to nothing to eat or drink. Still, they give thanks to the God, and didn’t loose hope. In 2007, Elimlim and his family were forced from their home in Nyandarua County by Kenya’s post-election violence. After four years of suffering and discomfort, they learned that there might be home for them, refuge from hunger and homelessness, at a place called the Children and Youth Empowerment Center in Thunguma. Elimlim’s mother visited the CYEC to look for a place for her children, and was greeted warmly by kind people who welcomed them in. Now, Elimlim’s brother is entering his senior year (Form Four) of high school. Elimlim recently scored high marks on my middle school exams (339 marks!) and hopes to make it into a good high school himself.